Compensation for gate-side baggage check of carry on luggage

  • Hi Guest, welcome to the help forum. You can get fast answers to your customer service questions here. We have a dedicated team of advocates who are ready to help. Just go to the section that matches your question and ask us!
  • If you've posted a question or issue for our advocates to assist with, please be sure to check back frequently for responses and requests for clarification.
  • Did you know you can get email notifications when something new posts to your favorite forum? It's easy. Just click the "watch" link right next to the "post new thread" button at the top of your favorite forum. The rest is easy. Now you'll never miss another conversation.
  • Want to become an expert user? Drop by the How to use this forum section and all will be revealed. We'll show you how to make the most of your experience.
Aug 7, 2019
1
0
1
62
#1
A couple of times now I have been assigned group 4 for boarding. I'm told that the overhead space is full and that I need to gate-check my carry-on. Neither time was the overhead actually full. I think I should get compensation for the price differential between an economy ticket and a basic economy ticket; maybe even more because I wasn't planning on having to go to the baggage claim area.

How do you suggest I request such compensation and try to change the behavior of the airline?

On a related note, the flight attendant told me that the open space was left for those needing to make connecting flights. If that is the case, why doesn't the airline seat those passengers up front, or allow them to board after first class? The airline could charge more if necessary, but it would save the airline money in the long run by not having passengers miss conenctions. It is probably easier for the airline to make that change than to expect people to change the behavior and wait for those with conencting flights to get off the plane.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
19,717
18,384
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
There is no compensation due. They allow to gate check the bag at no charge when Basic Economy (and on domestic flights, regular economy) has to pay for checked bags. You are also allowed to choose your seat with an economy ticket which you don’t get with basic economy. And you aren’t in the very last boarding group. So you aren’t entitled to a refund.

There are ways to get around this. You need to change what you are doing to get an earlier boarding time.

Do you do your online check in 24 hours before your flights? Many time boarding is based on the time you do your online check in. The earlier you do online check in, the earlier you are assigned boarding.

Buy a carry on that fits under your seat. Then you will be allowed to carry it on regardless of your boarding time.

If you fly a particular airline, apply for their credit card. Many airlines offer priority boarding if you have their credit card.
 
Jan 25, 2016
65
76
18
67
#3
Since you've posted in the UA forum and reference Group 4, I'll assume you are referencing UA's process, where I don't think check-in time is a factor. To Neil's other point, changing your process, I heartily agree. UA is actually fairly transparent, so take a look at this page:
UA Boarding Process

Getting UA to change their behavior, good luck with that, but don't believe anything a F/A makes up, er states, about policy that's not in writing. OTOH, don't argue with them either.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
19,717
18,384
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#4
If it is United, Basic Economy still is boarded last after Economy. But he might be in group 3 by checking in 24 hours early instead of group 4 which can make a difference. Or purchase priority boarding. There are many ways to bypass being in the last group.

But getting the credit card gets priority boarding. Basically, those who pay more for their tickets or pay for priority boarding or show loyalty with their credit card get on sooner.

“Customers who have purchased a Basic Economy ticket will be in the last boarding group, except for Premier members, Chase Cardmembers of qualifying cards and Star Alliance Gold members, who will still receive their priority boarding.”
 
Likes: Lcarmody
Jan 25, 2016
65
76
18
67
#5
"Basically, those who pay more for their tickets or pay for priority boarding or show loyalty with their credit card get on sooner. "

Could not agree more. You could be on a flight where there are so many passengers in groups 1&2 (+ the Global Services) that in the judgment of the crew, it doesn't matter whether you are in 3 or 4. Once they decide to start gate-checking, it's over.
 
Likes: FrankL183

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
8,661
8,963
113
San Francisco
#6
I admire your creative thoughts, Craig. I've been playing the airline game since "United was Continental" and there's so little rhyme or reason to what actually goes on at the gate. I always feel badly for all the people lined up who know their carryons won't get on the plane.

United could turn that around if the gate agents were required to enforce the rules. In today's social climate of "I want what I want when I want it ... and I'm willing to make trouble if I don't get it", it's much safer to limit as much confrontation as possible. Lord knows there's enough already at an airport. The only sure-fire solution for you is the UA credit card from Chase ... if you fly UA often enough to justify the annual fee which is $95 last time I looked. Next best is a carryon that actually fits under the seat in front of you, of course.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
19,717
18,384
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#7
Jsn55 is spot on that the airlines themselves cause these problems because gate agents don’t adhere to airline rules about the size and number of carry-ons allowed. They have the ability to stop it at check in but I think once in all my years of flying have I ever seen a check in or gate agent tell someone they had to check a carry on because it was too large.
 
Sep 19, 2015
5,154
7,174
113
49
#8
Oh I have seen fights over carry ons, just my luck -- but just a few on size, mostly on forced gate checking.

The idea of asking for compensation because of gate check in is just not going to work. Also basic economy cannot reserve a seat and cannot do online check in and cannot check a bag in free -- they only get a small carry on.

There are times on all airlines when the gate agent just guestimates whether the overhead bins are full. You will find social media complaints on that with all three major airlines. The airlines do the guestimates in order to get the airplanes out on time -- so someone is not having to return to the boarding door to deposit luggage while others boarding -- swimming upstream.

I find it annoying that people will put bother their items in the overhead and not just the larger one.

But you will not get airlines to change the behavior -- this quick turnaround of airplanes is the way the business is run all you can do is prepare. and asking for compensation will likely get you nothing -- and deservedly so.
 
Sep 14, 2019
7
7
3
48
#9
I know this is an older thread, but... Try booking a window seat. I think I read/heard somewhere that United generally puts window seaters in Group 3 and aisle seaters in Group 4 to speed the boarding process. My wife flies on United award tickets (I'm 1K but she has no status) and prefers window seats, and is almost always in Group 3 -- and usually gets overhead bin space.

Aaron
 
Likes: jsn55

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
19,717
18,384
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#10
I know this is an older thread, but... Try booking a window seat. I think I read/heard somewhere that United generally puts window seaters in Group 3 and aisle seaters in Group 4 to speed the boarding process. My wife flies on United award tickets (I'm 1K but she has no status) and prefers window seats, and is almost always in Group 3 -- and usually gets overhead bin space.

Aaron
The key here was not to book basic economy- that’s why the OP was in the last boarding group.
 
Sep 14, 2019
7
7
3
48
#11
The key here was not to book basic economy- that’s why the OP was in the last boarding group.
If he was in Group 4, he was regular economy -- Basic Economy is always Group 5, unless they have a credit card, elite status, or purchased priority boarding, which would bump them all the way up to Group 2. (Again, regular United flyer here, I see the process played out several times per month.)

And come to think of it, I believe they used to put centers in Group 4 and aisles in Group 5, but I'm not sure if that's changed since Basic Economy started. (I'm flying again tomorrow and can ask if anyone is really that curious.)

I assume he wanted the refund between economy and basic because he feels as if he was treated like a Basic Economy passenger -- i.e. not able to bring his bag on board. But he's mistaken, as if he was flying Basic Economy, they'd charge him for the bag -- and nail him with an additional $25 "gate fee" if he somehow managed to get said bag past the baggage counter.

Aaron
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
19,717
18,384
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#12
He legally isn’t due compensation because he got more than he would have gotten with basic economy- an assigned seat at the time he booked.

Even with an economy ticket, the overhead can be full by the time later boarding arrives. They airlines usually give notice at the gate which boarding groups will be asked to gate check in advance.

If you are flying, make sure you do your online check in 24 hours before so you have to opportunity to be given a better group number. If you don’t have a credit card that offers earlier boarding, boarding groups are assigned based on who checks in earliest for most airlines.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
8,661
8,963
113
San Francisco
#13
I know this is an older thread, but... Try booking a window seat. I think I read/heard somewhere that United generally puts window seaters in Group 3 and aisle seaters in Group 4 to speed the boarding process. My wife flies on United award tickets (I'm 1K but she has no status) and prefers window seats, and is almost always in Group 3 -- and usually gets overhead bin space.

Aaron
This is most interesting information, Aaron. I remember lots of talking about "dividing" boarding lanes per window, center, aisle. Didn't know that it had ever been implemented with any airline. I'm fortunate to be able to fly up front most of the time, so no boarding issues. I do see the monsterous carryons flooding by like the Rhine in springtime and wonder at the FAs who are left with dealing with it all. I remember one GA telling me that he didn't get paid enough to argue with the pax. And I can certainly see his point. I'm frankly surprised that the FA union hasn't addressed this with United, the cabin crew seems to be where the buck stops. I don't know how they deal with pax day in and day out. I hope our readers will be able to put your guidance to good use.
 
Sep 27, 2018
127
162
43
61
#16
"Basically, those who pay more for their tickets or pay for priority boarding or show loyalty with their credit card get on sooner. "

Could not agree more. You could be on a flight where there are so many passengers in groups 1&2 (+ the Global Services) that in the judgment of the crew, it doesn't matter whether you are in 3 or 4. Once they decide to start gate-checking, it's over.
Couldn't agree more. On a United flight going out of ORD, I had a group 1 boarding slot. After they boarded all the priority passengers on the plane, there were two of us left for the Zone 1 to 4 boarding.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
19,717
18,384
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#17
Couldn't agree more. On a United flight going out of ORD, I had a group 1 boarding slot. After they boarded all the priority passengers on the plane, there were two of us left for the Zone 1 to 4 boarding.
Almost everyone has the opportunity to be among the priority people in a number of ways-
1. Become a frequent flyer. Why shouldn’t those who show loyalty to the airline be afforded priority boarding?
2. Buy a business, first class or priority ticket and pay for that privelege.
3. Get a branded credit card- where you are also paying for the privilege with an annual fee.

If you have none of those, check in 24 hours before your flight on the dot - that’s the best way to try to get an earlier boarding if you don’t want to pay for earlier access.

I don’t have an issue with folks who pay for the privilege getting it.
 
May 1, 2018
234
455
63
#18
Couldn't agree more. On a United flight going out of ORD, I had a group 1 boarding slot. After they boarded all the priority passengers on the plane, there were two of us left for the Zone 1 to 4 boarding.
Are you sure you were in Group 1? Were you in F or a Platinum member? Otherwise, that doesn't make sense since "priority boarding" on united is Group 2. The only people to pre-board ahead of Group 1 are military, disabled, families with small kids, GS and 1K. I cannot believe the entire plane was composed of those types of passengers.
 
Sep 27, 2018
127
162
43
61
#19
Are you sure you were in Group 1? Were you in F or a Platinum member? Otherwise, that doesn't make sense since "priority boarding" on united is Group 2. The only people to pre-board ahead of Group 1 are military, disabled, families with small kids, GS and 1K. I cannot believe the entire plane was composed of those types of passengers.
Yeah when you are on a flight between 2 United hubs at a popular time for business travelers, over half the flight was their top tier fliers, then all the rest of the precious metals before they got to numbered sections. the good news was I had a seat and it got to the destination on time. Anything else is quickly forgotten.
 
Likes: jsn55

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
8,661
8,963
113
San Francisco
#20
Yeah when you are on a flight between 2 United hubs at a popular time for business travelers, over half the flight was their top tier fliers, then all the rest of the precious metals before they got to numbered sections. the good news was I had a seat and it got to the destination on time. Anything else is quickly forgotten.
I will never forget connecting in Houston back when the merger was happening and you could get priority just with the credit card. I be-bopped down to the gate and the "priority" boarding line was 50 people instead of the usual 6. I remember thinking that this priority thing was going to be a game-changer, and it was. I'm totally in agreement with Neil ... I love the idea of paying for a good seat with adequate legroom in coach and never worrying about my carryon. That's the one positive thing about the changes in flying.
 
Likes: ADM and VoR61